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Born Yesterday
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Reviews & Ratings for
Born Yesterday More at IMDbPro »

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20 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

You gotta compare.

Author: CMUltra (
4 May 2006

I'm never against remakes. What is there to lose? If the remake is inferior it just reaffirms the rarity of and how difficult it is to produce a true classic. If the remake is superior, then we have a better movie! This movie stands on its own as fair and light entertainment. The performances are right in line with popcorn comedy and will produce a sufficient number of chuckles and laughs.

The problem, of course, is this movie cannot stand on its own. If you remake a classic, you have to make the comparison. This version just doesn't measure up to the 1950 original on any level.

Since many people have not seen the 1950 Born Yesterday, I think this movie will do them just fine. Sooner or later though, if they love movies, they're going to stumble across Judy Holliday's outstanding performance and then this remake may seem a bit weak.

As with most attempts at remaking classics, the 1993 version of Born Yesterday falls far short of the original. It does, however, maintain a charm of its own and it wouldn't hurt to give it a try. However, I certainly, without reservation and whole-heartedly recommend the original as a "must-see"!

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15 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Why bother to remake an all time classic.

Author: MIKE WILSON ( from United Kingdom
22 July 2001

Born Yesterday (1950) is one of funniest films ever made. This

version has Melanie Griffith attempting the impossible,trying to

recreate the role that won Judy Holiday a best actress Oscar. Although Griffith tries hard, she is no match for Holiday, and Don

Johnson is certainly no substitute for William Holden. The only one

of the cast who comes close to the original, is John Goodman. For anybody that doesn't know the story outline, Harry Block,(John

Goodman ) a crooked junk tycoon hires a journalist Paul Verrall

(Don Johnson ) to teach his girlfriend Billie Dawn, some social

skills, as she is unused the high society life of the Washington

elite. In a choice between the two, watch the original.

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7 out of 9 people found the following review useful:

Surprisingly...not terrible

Author: moonspinner55 from las vegas, nv
2 April 2006

Remake of the 1950 Judy Holliday/William Holden/Broderick Crawford hit farce, adapted from Garson Kanin's popular play, about millionaire businessman hiring a tutor for his dizzy girlfriend, which backfires when she becomes wise enough to know she's being played for a dupe. In the leads, Melanie Griffith, then-husband Don Johnson and John Goodman all have a propensity to lapse into shtick, but, for her part, Griffith is well-cast and very likable. The men have a harder time: Johnson is charmingly low-keyed in a dull role (the problems with it go back to the play) and Goodman works hard at being both vulgar and sympathetic. Not a complete success by any means, this update still hasn't figured out how to make the last act work (the plot mechanisms become congealed, the action becomes stagy and the finale is limp), but there are some nice laughs spread around and an occasionally witty flash of original thought. ** from ****

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4 out of 5 people found the following review useful:

insipid TV type movie remake of a classic

Author: fcasnette from United Kingdom
7 August 2006

this is sort of OK as an afternoon TV movie but stands no comparison against the Oscar nominated and winning original.

The Cukor version has class written all over it with stupendous performances from Broderick Crawford, Judy Holiday and William Holden, great comic timing and real pace.

This is just ambling along, making the motions, insipid in comparison, the famous gin rummy scene is a bit embarrassing really. John Goodman can't make his mind up whether he wants to be a bully or sympathetic, his pest controller in Anachrophobia was a far better comic performance I think. Don Johnson is so low key he seems to be sleepwalking through the role. Melenie Griffith was far better in Working Girl with an all round superior character transformation. So maybe the script and especially direction have to take the blame to a greater degree.

Cheap off-cut compared to prime rump steak.

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

An Okay Remake That Feels Odd In Places

Author: sundial83 from United States
22 January 2012

This is a remake of a 1950s screwball political satire and in some ways it is both stronger and weaker than the original. First, the weaknesses: the main problem with this remake of Born Yesterday is the plot. All they've done here is copied and pasted the original screenplay and shoehorned into a time frame where the material seems out of date. When we see Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith walking out on the streets of 1990s Washington, D.C., we hear their dialogue and somehow it doesn't jive with the world around them. We feel the presence of the film crew standing behind the camera capturing this "cute" moment between a pair of movie stars. It's like we're observing a big high school play performed for an audience in the park and it just feels awkward. There isn't much chemistry between Johnson and Griffith and that's another part of the problem. Griffith is fine as the ditz with hidden depth and definitely did not deserve her Razzie nomination in 1993. In fact, she's one of the best things about the remake and I liked her in the role. Don Johnson feels out of place as the smart guy teaching her how to be an intellectual. He just doesn't seem the type and seems terribly miscast. John Goodman is the perfect combo of sweet and tough as Harry, the corrupt businessman pulling the strings of senators. Born Yesterday is a flawed remake but the stuff that's good is really good and makes me wish more effort had been put into updating the material to fit present day sensibilities.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Wakey, Wakey

Author: JoeytheBrit from
13 August 2010

The casting of crude millionaire Harry Brock is crucial to the success of this film simply because he dominates the story even when he isn't on screen. Choose the wrong actor and the whole thing will collapse because he is the origin of the story's conflict and therefore needs to be strong and bold. Luckily, the producers cast beefy John Goodman in the role and he managed to strike just the right combination of pent-up rage and apple-cheeked smiles. Although he's a Citizen Kane-type monster who slaps his girlfriend around and believes the offer of jewellery or money can soothe all ills, he also displays moments of genuine emotion that makes him quite likable at times. I guess the idea was to show how the nice guy he once was has been devoured by his hunger for money – hardly original, but nicely played by Goodman, anyway.

The story is essentially a wake-up call to the slumbering giant that is the American public masquerading as a romantic comedy. A book called Democracy in America – which was actually written in the 19th Century by a Frenchman named Tocqueville – plays a big part. By studying its concepts, Brock's moll Billy (Melanie Griffith) awakens to the fact that she is being duped by Harry, who represents the forces of rampant capitalism, and rises up against her oppressor. Whether the message is particularly relevant to its target audience is open to question, but perhaps its assumption that it won't really be taken too seriously allows the film to make its symbolism so literal that few will miss the parallels. For example when Ed Devery (Edward Hermann), Brock's right-hand man who clearly feels he has sold his soul ('I died twelve years ago,' he tells Brock after his employer shows concern for striking him in a rage) picks up a copy of the book it signals a reawakening of his conscience which is quickly quashed when Brock snatches it from his hand and throws it to the ground. Others, like the radio presenter, pay lip service to the concept without really understanding it. The way the message is couched in this straightforward simplicity raises the film higher than others of its type.

In a bland, thankless role that goes nowhere, Don Johnson wears horn-rimmed glasses and combs his hair forward to dispel memories of designer-clad cops. Even if he was anything more than a workmanlike actor he would struggle to do anything with the role. Griffith is likable enough, but her rapid transformation from bubble-headed blonde to hair-in-a-bun brain-box is so fast it fairly takes your breath away. One minute she's impatiently searching for something to watch during the dead time between the soaps and Entertainment Tonight and the next she's teaching a group of Senators the American constitution.

The film itself is entertaining enough; it certainly isn't as bad as you'd expect, and it's rating on this site is surprisingly low. But then, I suppose a lot of people watch this because they've seen (and liked) the original, which is a major hurdle for any film to overcome.

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6 out of 11 people found the following review useful:

Not Bad, But Too Smart-Too Fast, So Stick With The Original

Author: ccthemovieman-1 from United States
9 October 2007

This remake of the 1950 film which starred Judy Holliday was okay, but nothing super. The major problem was credibility with Melanie Griffith playing "Billie Dawn." I'm sorry, but with her voice and mannerisms in all the movies I've seen her in, it's not believable enough for me to see her as a woman who suddenly gets very smart. Anything is possible! However, she gets too smart, too fast and it's just too much. "Yeah, right," is what you wind up saying over and over. However, I'm not saying she didn't do a good job acting, it's just that I know her too well to have her be credible in this particular role.

I also was sorry to hear another example of a classic-era film re-done with profanity. Here, John Goodman (no surprise) blasphemes here and there as boyfriend "Harry Brock.".This story is nice enough with a bunch of good messages without having to mess it up with needless profanity and sexual innuendos. Can't Hollywood make ONE modern-day comedy without that? Speaking of credibility, I can picture a slob like Goodman being paired with Roseanne Barr, but a hot babe like Griffith? No way.

No wonder there was little chemistry in this film.

However, I have to say Don Johnson, of Miami Vice television fame, was a very likable character in a pleasant low-key role as the tutor-reporter. I was never a big fan of his but I liked him in this movie.

Still, the 1950 version was good enough to stand on its own, not needing a re-make in the first place.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The umpteenth remake of 'My Fair Lady'

Author: Abdullah Al-Aabed from Dhaka, Bangladesh
12 November 1998

While the movie is entertaining, it is not an unforgettable masterpiece. If you haven't got anything better to do it's not a bad way to kill time but don't expect this movie to be thought-provoking. Absurd as it may be, it is still interesting to watch how Melanie Griffith goes from being a bimbo to composing songs about the constitution and appreciating Van Gogh paintings. Don Johnson sort of blends into the background as Goodman wildly raves on and on shouts at everyone in sight while Griffith tries her best to prove that her character is more than just a pretty face.

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Propensity for trying...

Author: Benjamin Wolfe from USA
31 March 2007

If at first you take and forget that this is a remake, it will help for those who remember the original actors and such to get through this. On the other hand, as this is a current movie, (at that time) and sometimes updating a story can be entertaining, fun and necessary. Some stories don't seem to age well, now I'm not at all talking about this movie in that context. But with all said and done, after the movie ended, I had a good time. I really enjoyed it, so did many others, when "Born Yesterday" played in theaters . Don Johnson, as Paul, the reporter was good, no tough-talking bad boy role here. Then there was, the third character, John Goodman. Here is a comedic big-man! He has and brings a whole different ingredient to this story. If it had been another big man, it would have been all together not the same. Now Melanie Griffith, I have always had a 'soft' spot for in my heart for her, in a friendly way. She came in behind Judy Holiday and took on the role of a modern day 'simpleton' wife, who had her routine and therefore was happy as a pig in mud. It won't win any awards, but if you just look at that body of work and give it an honest chance, it comes through, delivering good laughs.

The chemistry and interest among Johnson and Griffith was sustaining and entertaining which if it's lacking, will ruin just about anything that the main story could offer a viewer. Born Yesterday, has a propensity for trying. Sometimes 'trying' is too much and doesn't work and sometimes the movie makers hit a hard-and really good remake and make a new stake in the film remake game. At any rate, this was an enjoyable film that I would recommend to a comedy fan. With John Goodman playing it out and out funny and the bad-guy too, you can't miss. It's tough to beat William Holden, in a dirty-day mature adult affair type story, so this doesn't have the feeling to it that the original has. Even so they are two different films that can be enjoyed. The supporting cast was a nice choice as well as the main personalities. (**)

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2 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Can't go wrong with this one

Author: Mendoza969 from United States
13 June 2006

Born Yesterday is one of the funniest movies I've ever seen!! Melanie Griffith is terrific as she plays dumb Billie Dawn who is constantly mocked for her lack of political knowledge. Her boyfriend, played by John Goodman, wants to smarten her up and goes to great lengths to do so. What happens from there may surprise you!! The plot is intriguing and keeps you interested the entire time. Great movie to show at parties. I've hosted a number of parties over the years, and people seem to like this movie the best, so now I only show this at parties. Can't go wrong with Born Yesterday!! It's a great comedy with two very talented actors.

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